More nonsense from Compass
My reaction to the Compass High Pay Commission proposal (http://www.compassonline.org.uk/campaigns/campaign.asp?n=5246) is that I could not care less what the super rich earn - it's seeing the least well-off in society properly rewarded for their labour and free of poverty that gets me politically fired-up.
It seems a very odd political priority to push the punishment of a very small number of the extremely financially successful rather than focus on the betterment of the least well off. In tax terms punishing the super rich few would not generate enough to be useful for practical redistribution, might indeed lower the tax take due to evasion and emigration and might stuff the economy even more than it already is by stifling entrepreneurialism. I.e. the only benefit would be to placate the feelings of the jealous or politically angry, not to make the poor richer.
Have Compass never read John Rawls' "Theory of Justice" (summary here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Theory_of_Justice), which makes the logically impeccable case that social and economic inequalities should be arranged so that "they are to be of the greatest benefit to the least-advantaged members of society" i.e. an unequal distribution of wealth or other resources can be just when it maximizes the benefit to those who have the lowest allocation of resources - the Maximin theory?
All this political energy should be going into anti-poverty pay initiatives like the London Living Wage campaign, not wasted on bashing a group of people who are so small in numbers as to be statistically irrelevant and already paying vast sums in tax.
Ordinary hard-working people want a better life for their families and not to be exploited. My guess is very few of them subscribe to limiting the wages of the people at the opposite end of the spectrum.
Can anyone name a free society where a maximum wage has successfully operated without leading to massive offshore tax evasion? Why wouldn't the people threatened just go and work and earn in the US or some other country without these kind of remuneration restrictions?
And who are Compass' targets? Just bankers, if so how many? FTSE 100 ceos get mentioned in the text but surely some of these in sectors outside finance don't deserve bracketing morally with Fred the Shred et al? What about TV and pop stars and footballers - my hunch is the public don't mind their heroes earning vast amounts if they have a unique talent? And what about entrepreneurs or inventors who create jobs and bring wealth into the country - does Compass think it would be a good thing to cap their earnings?
And why pick on capping pay, as opposed to all the other ways the very rich get income (e.g. return on investments)?
The whole idea is puerile and the worst kind of bandwagon jumping, but that's Compass for you.